- West Virginia University Mountaineers (8-1, 6-1)—TCU does not exactly have what I would call a high powered offense, but the Mountaineers clearly have one of the better defenses in the country and the offense has shown the Iowa State game to be an outlier.
- Oklahoma Sooners (9-1, 6-1)— I opined that I wasn’t sure that getting rid of Stoops alone would fix the Sooner defense. I was joking, but now I am not sure if I was right.
- Iowa State Cyclones (6-3, 5-2) — Without David Montgomery (possibly) this might look like a very different team as the Cyclones look to stay in the title race.
- Texas Longhorns (7-3, 5-2)—Texas routinely plays with fire. Two weeks in a row it burned them, this week it didn’t.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-5, 3-4)—He’s probably safe, but I can’t say it’d be shocking if Kliffy didn’t come back.
- Baylor Bears (5-5, 3-4)—Baylor has been quietly one of the better stories of the Big XII even if they are on the edge of bowl eligibility; but it’s not that hard to imagine this team winning out and finishing 7-5.
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-5, 2-5)—Which Oklahoma State team will show up this week?
- Kansas State Wildcats (4-6, 2-5)—If there was an uglier game on Saturday than Michigan State/Ohio State it was the battle of the Sunflower State as Kansas State kept its slim hopes for a bowl game alive. Honestly, that would be an incredibly Bill Snyder thing to do. Slide into the end of the season on a 3-game winning streak with an upset of Iowa State.
- TCU Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5)—TCU’s defense is pretty good, but man that offense? Yikes. Where would they be without Jalen Reagor? Last week he had 150 total yards of offense. The rest of the team? 76 total yards.
- Kansas Jayhawks (3-7, 1-6)—Good news for Jayhawks fans: basketball season has started!
Continuing the trend from last week, bowl pictures have started to come into focus, but the playoff remains more or less unchanged from last week.
College Football Playoff.
Alabama has secured themselves a spot in the playoff. I think Clemson has too, though a loss in the ACC title game to lowly Pitt would probably give the committee heartburn. Notre Dame is close, but will need to beat Syracuse first.
The race for the fourth spot is still pretty much up in the air. Right now you have six teams with any real shot at this spot (in the order of their likelihood of getting it): Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, WVU, Washington State, Georgia.
My guess is, absent Georgia beating Alabama in the title game, the winner of Michigan/Ohio State gets the nod. I could have a whole Ted Talk on Michigan vs Oklahoma or Ohio State vs Oklahoma. And to me, it’s a good point of discussion for why I hate the current format, but I’ll spare you for now. If both WVU and Washington State were up for the 4 neither of them is getting in over Ohio State/Michigan, but I would want to believe WVU would get in over Washington State.
- Orange Bowl: #1 Alabama vs #4 Michigan
- Cotton Bowl: #2 Clemson #3 Notre Dame
New Year’s Six
As noted previously, the Rose and Sugar are “contract” bowls, and I have Washington State facing Ohio State in the former and Georgia and Oklahoma in the latter.
UCF seems locked into the Group of 5 spot but has their toughest test yet this Saturday. If they were to lose Utah State or Boise State would be the likely beneficiaries. Who they might face seems to be a moving target but a team with a real shot at it, even if they lose this weekend could be Syracuse after NC State and Kentucky lost this week. Florida remains alive for it as well and closes with easy wins vs Idaho and FSU.
The Peach Bowl seems likely to take an SEC team. I feel like they’d rather have LSU than Florida, maybe I am wrong. WVU seems like their choice against either, as the Peach Bowl certainly doesn’t care about Syracuse.
- Rose Bowl (PAC-12 vs Big Ten): Washington State vs Ohio State
- Fiesta Bowl (at-large vs at-large): Syracuse vs UCF
- Sugar Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Oklahoma vs Georgia
- Peach Bowl (at-large vs at-large): WVU vs LSU
Big XII Contract Bowls
The odds of the Big XII having enough bowl eligible teams to fill all of it’s bowl commitments are about the same the odds of Alabama missing the playoff.
- Valero Alamo Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Texas vs Utah
- Camping World Bowl (Big XII vs ACC): Iowa State vs Boston College
- Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Texas Tech vs Texas A&M
- Autozone Liberty Bowl (Big XII vs SEC): Oklahoma State vs South Carolina
- Cheeze- It Cactus Bowl (Big XII vs Pac 12): Baylor vs Arizona
- Lockheed Martin Armed Forces (Big XII vs AAC): Army* vs SMU